The Gloucester Project

Anglo-Dutch Wars 1665-67 and 1672-74

The Gloucester clashed with the Dutch first at the Battle of Lowestoft in June 1665, and later at the Four Days’ Battle, and the St. James’s Day Battle before being discharged from service because the crown faced financial crisis in 1667.

Between 1669-70 the ship was refitted at Portsmouth and by spring 1672 the Gloucester was equipped with a full crew. It was partly responsible for triggering the Third Anglo-Dutch War when in March 1672, it attacked the Dutch Smyrna fleet off the Isle of Wight. A broadside was fired from the Gloucester which struck the Dutch Rear Admiral’s ship, incapacitating and eventually sinking it. Weeks later, Charles II declared war on the Dutch Republic. The Gloucester participated in a number of fierce sea battles at Solebay, Schooneveld, and Texel but these conflicts took their toll on the ship’s structural integrity. By 1674 the Gloucester was reported to have a severe leak which was difficult to repair. Instead of resolving the problem, the Gloucester was brought to Portsmouth and left there until a refit was agreed in 1678.

Attack on the Smyrna Fleet, 12 March 1672, Netherlandish School, c. 1672
Attack on the Smyrna Fleet, 12 March 1672, Netherlandish School, c. 1672

© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.

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The Battle of Texel, 11-21 August 1673 by Willem van de Velde the Younger, 1687
The Battle of Texel, 11-21 August 1673 by Willem van de Velde the Younger, 1687

© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.

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Attack on the Smyrna Fleet, 12 March 1672, Netherlandish School, c. 1672
Attack on the Smyrna Fleet, 12 March 1672, Netherlandish School, c. 1672

© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.

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